This article focuses on wheat farming in Kenya. Wheat farming is a very profitable venture as wheat is the 2nd most consumed cereal in Kenya after maize.
The planting season of wheat in Kenya starts at the onset of long rains, that is from February to April.
Main Wheat Growing Areas in Kenya
- Trans Nzoia.
- Uasin Gishu.
Varieties of Wheat Grown in Kenya
- Kenya sunbird.
- Eagle 10.
- Kenya tai.
- Ks chui.
- Kenya eagle.
- Hawk 12.
- Kenya korongo.
- Kenya wren.
- Temperature range between 15°c- 20°c.
- Altitude of 1500- 2900 m above sea level.
- Rainfall of 500- 1300mm.
- Deep, fertile and well drained soils with pH of 5.5 to 7.5.
Land should be well ploughed early enough before planting. It should be tilled properly to a depth of about 6 inches.
Once you have tilled the land, mix soil with DAP and organic manure to improve the uptake of nutrients.
Propagation is by seeds. The seeds can be sown at a depth of approximately 4cm through dibbling or broadcasting.
After sowing the seeds, cover them with a thin layer of soil. The thin layer of soil helps to prevent them from drying and being eaten by birds.
You can intercrop wheat with other crops such as barley or peas.
Germination occurs after one week, that is after 4-7 days.
Pests and Diseases
Common pests that attack wheat include aphids and African armyworms. Common diseases include yellow rust, loose smut, barley yellow dwarf, brown leaf rust and yellow rust.
The diseases and pests can be controlled by using recommended pesticides and practising proper field hygiene. You can also plant resistant varieties as may be recommended by seed experts.
Harvesting can be done after 4 months upon maturity. It can be done using a combine harvester if the wheat is grown for commercial purposes.
Colour change of the plant to golden brown is an indication of maturity.
Market for Wheat in Kenya
Wheat is a high-value crop and the second most consumed cereal in Kenya after maize. This means it has a high demand in the local and international markets.
The biggest buyers of wheat in Kenya are millers/ wheat flour companies. The companies source wheat from local farmers then process them into products such as wheat flour which is used to bake cakes, bread, prepare mandazis and chapati.